“Lather, rinse, reuse” seems to be the model for ND senior Andy Boes’ project to collect and donate used hotel soap and shampoo. While interning at United Way of St. Joseph County, Boes saw that many people who rely on food pantries and food stamps don’t receive or can’t afford adequate toiletries. His solution was to gather the gently used soap and shampoo from the Morris Inn and donate them to United Way’s People Gotta Eat program. The shampoo and cleaned-up soap are given to 18 food pantries. Other hotels quickly joined in the collection effort, and to date Boes has gathered nearly a ton of hygiene products. . . .
A modern-day Patch Adams, sophomore Caitlin Crommett has founded DreamCatchers, a nonprofit organization that grants the dying wishes of hospice patients. Crommett began the project in high school and with the help and resources of the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, she spent the summer traveling to Raleigh, Nashville, Washington, D.C., Phoenix and Las Vegas, meeting with hospice organizations and schools in the hope of spreading her organization. She takes on wishes from gourmet meals to family reunions to yacht rides. “When I help to fulfill a dream for someone with not much time left in their lives, it is like giving them a happy ending, which is something I think everyone should have,” Crommett says. “For me, meeting and getting to know these people that we fulfill dreams for is so rewarding, as they usually have so much to teach us, and I often spend days going back to visit them. Sometimes they simply want someone to talk to, someone to laugh and smile with, in their final days, and I hope that DreamCatchers can give everyone hope for a happy ending.” . . .
A pair of ND fencers brought home bronze from the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Sisters Kelley Hurley ’10 and senior Courtney Hurley both contributed to the podium finish for the Women’s Team Epee. Kelley had served as an alternate for Team USA and replaced fellow fencer Susie Scanlan in the bronze medal match, topping her Russian opponent 4-1 to add to the team win. The last fencer, Courtney lost her bout to Russia, 5-3, tying the match at 30-30 and sending it into sudden-death overtime. Courtney then touched her opponent 16 seconds in to claim the 31-30 win over Russia and clinch the bronze. . . .
Shakespeare’s new stage is the iPad, thanks to Notre Dame English Professor Elliott Visconsi. With co-author Katherine Rowe of Bryn Mawr College and funding from Notre Dame, the bard buff created an enhanced ebook of The Tempest, complete with audio readings from professional actors, commentary from scholars and options to share notes and discuss with a group. “The humanities have . . . always been about conversations across time and space,” Visconsi told Fastcompany.com, adding, “That kind of collaboration, conversation, interpretation — social readings rather than living in a vacuum — is well suited to mobile devices.”. . . .
New culinary options range from croissants to fried rice as campus welcomes Au Bon Pain, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Panda Express. As students came back, a combined Taco Bell/Pizza Hut shop had replaced the location Sbarro held in the basement of LaFortune for 10 years. Upstairs, Panda Express is set to replace the Buen Provecho burrito stand in the Huddle later in the fall. Soon the Hesburgh Library will renovate the current first-floor lounge and vending area to accommodate Au Bon Pain, the first one in the South Bend area and a real treat for late-night library-goers. . . .
The Congregation of Holy Cross elected a new Provincial Superior, Rev. Thomas J. O’Hara, CSC, ’77M.Th., to lead the recently merged U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers. In July 2011, the Eastern Province merged into the Indiana Province, forming the new group of more than 500 priests, brothers and seminarians. . . .
Norovirus hit Notre Dame summer sports camps, affecting 106 young athletets and sending 29 to local hospitals. Most of the individuals affected with the gastrointestinal outbreak were high school and middle school campers. Food poisoning was immediately ruled out, and it was later confirmed by lab results as an outbreak of Norovirus, the most common stomach virus in the United States. . . .
Irish men’s soccer took on the professional under-23 Mexican team Chivas of Guadalajara in front of 3,400 fans in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in August. The 1-1 draw was part of the Shindigz National Soccer Festival and marked the first time in event history that a professional team competed against college teams. The match was competitive because of a healthy rivalry between the Mexican and American teams, head coach Bobby Clark says. "I was pleased with the way our team handled playing against such a good team. I don’t feel we’ll play any stronger or more technical team this season, and we have a very strong schedule.” . . .
From landfill to sculpture park, landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, in conjunction with the Snite Museum of Art and the University Architect’s office, is transforming the eight-acre strip of land between the Irish Green and the Compton Family Ice Arena. The space will be renovated into a canopied retreat for walks, reflection or small concerts and other gatherings. The landscaping will feature indigenous trees, shrubs and prairie grasses that may have stood in the area before it was inhabited. The Notre Dame Sculpture Park will rotate various works. The inaugural exhibition will feature five sculptures ranging from a kinetic stainless-steel piece to a horse made of collected driftwood and branches. It is set to open in November. . . .
A three-year grant for $500,000 has been given to a team of researchers from Notre Dame and Purdue by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a portable technology to quickly test milk and other dairy products for pathogens. The project will first try to reduce brucellosis, the most common animal-to-human infection, which can cause prolonged health problems in underdeveloped countries. While the infection isn’t often seen in developed countries, there is concern that with increased tourism and immigration, it may spread internationally. . . .
Americans lie 11 times per week on average says Anita Kelly, Notre Dame professor of psychology. Funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the research of Kelly and Lijuan Wang, a ND assistant professor of psychology, reveals that people who make an effort to lie less report stronger relationships and fewer health complaints. Their 10-week study compared two groups, one that was instructed to try to lie less and the other which continued on as normal. While both groups tended to avoid the whoppers a bit more, by week 10 the truth-tellers were down to less than one white lie per week and also had more than four fewer mental health complaints. So admit it, you weren’t stuck in traffic on the way to work. . . .
“My first day of class I intend to . . . introduce myself as an ex-con,” new theology professor John T. Fitzgerald says. He may not be an actual criminal, but he did spend the last 31 years at the University of Miami, and as a former football player he plans to allude to the legendary Notre Dame vs. Miami or “Catholics vs. Convicts” game of 1988 in his lessons. At Notre Dame, Fitzgerald will continue his religion and society research on the New Testament and will work with both doctoral and undergraduate students. . . .
Mosquitoes smell you before they bite you, Zainulabeuddin Syed says. The mosquito biologist with Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health studies mosquito olfaction and has concluded that the pests are able to use their antennae to smell small amounts of nonanal, a chemical substance given off by humans and other vertebrates like the avian carriers of West Nile virus. Female mosquitoes, the only biting ones, move the virus from birds to humans. Syed has also debunked the myth that DEET masks the odors that attract mosquitoes. Instead, he argues that mosquitoes smell DEET distinctly and try to avoid it. Syed’s research will likely lead to better understanding of mosquito prevention and control here and internationally, where mosquito-borne illnesses are frequently deadly. . . .
Lighting up cigars with Father Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, Zahm Hall residents celebrated their hall’s 75th anniversary on August 26 by creating a new “Hesburgh Challenge,” an agreement for all residents to live lives of service, sustainability and inclusivity — priorities Hesburgh values. The current residents pledged to end their version of the “Ole, ole, ole” chant in order to be more inclusive, to make larger donations to charities and to participate more often in Zahm service activities. They also made Father Hesburgh an honorary Zahmbie as part of the event. . . .